Tom Cruise’s action revival

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The productive and commercial heyday for prominent actors is usually known to be between the ages of 30-45. Yet, on the eve of age 50, Tom Cruise is turning back the clock and reviving his career.

After a string of miss hits (Knight and Day and Valkyrie) that still garnered revenues of over $75 million at the box office, it seems as if Tom Cruise has now rediscovered the winning formula for making a movie that is not only entertaining, but can also be enjoyed across the spectrum of all movie goers.
For a moment, let’s put aside our opinions on Scientology, cast aside our perception of a man who will fanatically jump up and down on a couch on internationally broadcasted television while professing his love for a certain Dawson’s Creek actress and take a look at the actor we all know too well: Tom Cruise.

After bursting onto the Hollywood scene in 1983 with the sexually charged coming of age film Risky Business, Cruise has embarked on a decorated trip across Tinsel Town, earning three Oscar nominations along the way for Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Jerry Maguire (1996) and Magnolia (1999).

Even with this impressive resume, Cruise has been typecast for films wrought with action sequences but primarily characterized by mundane scripting and one-time appeal.

Thanks to director Brad Bird’s work (the Pixar man behind Up and The Incredibles) on Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, we see a new installment in the Mission Impossible franchise that offers the same satisfying action rush while being complemented by dramatic principles and the odd comedic moment that make the action purposeful and relevant rather than dry and unnecessary.

Besides Tom Cruise, Ghost Protocol hosts an impressive cast that includes Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), Simon Pegg (Star Trek), and Mikael Nyqvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Furthermore, it’s directed by Brad Bird, which represents an interesting choice on behalf of the movies production team, given that Bird hadn’t previously directed a feature film that was not animated.

Fortunately, this isn’t apparent in the film — Bird’s jubilant direction works to provide the film with the same lightheartedness that viewers have come to love from Pixar. All in all, this is a welcome and successful addition to Tom Cruise’s action film tenure that’s been searching for a hit since 2002’s Minority Report.


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